Pantheon Update: May 2015

  • Pantheon Community,


    Chris 'Joppa' Perkins here, Creative Director of Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. We are excited to bring you this update and share several important progress points in Pantheon's development. We are intentionally keeping several very exciting things quiet for a short while longer, but for now let's talk about three major milestones: Unity 5, Art and Alpha 1!


    UNITY 5


    As many of you may know, we have been in the process of converting holistically to the new Unity 5 engine. This has many programming implications and benefits, but what we're most excited about is the visual power of Unity's new engine, specifically by harnessing two very powerful new systems native to Unity 5: physically-based rendering and global illumination. However, these visual benefits aren't applied automatically. We have gone back through all of our existing terrains, foliage and environmental assets to ensure they are all compatible with Unity 5's new lighting and rendering systems.


    The good news is that now the conversion to Unity 5 is complete!




    But it gets better - I'm pleased to announce that J.P. Targete has recently joined the Visionary Realms team as Art Director! J.P. and I will be working closely together to crystallize the high-level visual identity and style of Pantheon's world and together with John Diasparra (Lead Environment Artist) and Justin Gerhart (Lead Writer), we will all be striving to make sure that visual identity is consistent down to the very details.


    Talk is cheap though - let's look at the following 3 images: The first is the initial mockup of Avendyr's Pass inside the Unity 5 game engine:




    The second image is a concept art 'paint-over' J.P. did on top of the first image to imbue the art style for the area:




    The third image is what happens when John Diasparra takes J.P.'s paint-over and uses it as a reference to finalize the visuals of the scene inside the game engine (this is an in-game screenshot, taken as night begins to fall on Avendyr's Pass):



    From start to finish, hopefully this gives you an idea of the power of Unity 5 and the talent of J.P.'s art direction - we can't wait to show you more!


    ALPHA 1


    While the Art teams are making huge strides, Game Design, Lore and Programming are completely focused on Alpha 1 execution right now and are making great progress. First, let me define what Alpha 1 is:


    Simply, Alpha 1 is our first major development goal of 2015: create an enjoyable, feature-complete, level 1 - 10 playing experience for a minimum of 5 unique classes that cover all grouping roles -- Warrior (tank), Cleric (healer), Rogue (physical DPS), Wizard (magical DPS), Enchanter (utility & control).


    Alpha 1 is not a public build of the game - it will be internal only. The goal of Alpha 1 is to create a robust testing ground where all of our foundational systems and mechanics are present and testable in the context of actual gameplay. In other words, we can test the pacing of combat in a simulator all day and have beautiful numbers, but until we fight in a full group with players of different classes, level and gear, our results won't be as insightful.


    But beyond careful testing, we will be asking more paradigmatic questions like: is the game fun, is it challenging in the right ways, does it feel good to explore, is it exciting to loot a weapon that's a little better than the one you had, is combat paced appropriately, is downtime paced appropriately, does it feel good to fight and slay enemies with a small group/full group -- and the list goes on.


    Alpha 1 is the proving ground and primer for Alpha 2, when we will most likely open the doors to the first round of players to experience the game.


    More specifically, here are a few things currently being worked on for Alpha 1:


    - Alpha 1 zones have been finalized and settled into the art/world building pipelines. Lore & Content documents are being finalized for these zones as well.


    - All player-related formulas have received initial scope and balance passes. This means we have carved out the rough idea of the Hitpoints, Armor Class, Mana, Attributes, etc. a level 1 player should have up to what a level 50 player should have. Although this is a very general spread, it will give us the foundation and perspective we need to start balancing our player-related systems.


    - With this framework in place, meaningful itemization has begun for level 1 - 10.


    - Attributes on weapons and wearables are now meaningful and appropriately effect your character's strength in light of the aforementioned statistical scale.


    - Skill & Ability programming/tuning for the five Alpha 1 classes.


    - Initial experience gain rate and leveling curve is being tuned.


    - The basic layer of NPC AI is being programmed, the foundation for some of our more innovative NPC AI behaviors to be built on top of.


    - Our Lead Programmer, Daniel Krenn, has created a combat simulation scene where we can quickly test our general combat formulas, %to hit/miss, critical hit %, weapon speed & delay, etc. and tweak things on the fly to ensure items are balanced and properly progressing in strength.


    - Our inventory system has been overhauled and bags are now working!


    - Combat sound effects are being finalized and iterated into the engine, important for giving combat the right feel and feedback.


    We have much more to share and show coming soon! Thank you for reading and we will see you in Terminus -- onward!